Illinois Department of Aging Director John K Holton,Ph.D., has issued an 2013 alert to warn seniors about attempted scamming and stealing of their money. The alert for Illinois seniors is based on recent reports by Springfield police after two elderly females fell victim to a scam.
Because seniors are perceived as vulnerable and wealthy, too often throughout the year we hear stories about seniors being targeted in a wide range of scams. Many times the senior victim is afraid and/or embarrassed to report the crime because at times, unfortunately, the perpetrator is a member of the seniors own family. Those who commit any kind of scams on seniors are considered to have committed abuse against elders.
It is reported that in fiscal year 2011, Illinois state authorities received 6,205 reports of suspected elder financial abuse and exploitation which accounts for 57% percent of all reported cases of abuse against elders. Only2.2% percent of those cases were reported by banks and other financial institutions.
Warning signs that a senior may be a victim of financial exploitation include:
- sudden changes in bank accounts or banking practices;
- the inclusion of additional names on a senior's bank signature card;
- unauthorized withdrawal(s) of the victim's funds using the victim's ATM or credit card;
- large sums of money loaned with no repayment arrangement;
- abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents;
- excessive charges for residence or services; and
- complaints of deception or theft of funds or property.
"Financial exploitation is the most common reported type of elder abuse," said Director Holton. "A good rule of thumb is to never give anyone who calls on the phone, or sends email, personal information including bank information."